OML 30: Host communities urged to exercise restraint

Festus Ahon

12 April 2012, Sweetcrude, UGHELLI –
DELTA State commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr. Mofe Joseph Pirah, has appealed to host communities in the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 30 not to take laws in their hands in the feud between them and the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC over the alleged marginalization of their people in the awards of major contracts in the on-going sale and hand over of assets by the company.

Pirah, who addressed host community, Wednesday at Ughelli during a town hall meeting with Traditional Rulers and Community Leaders Forum of OML 30 at the palace of HRM, Oharisi lll, the Ovie of Ughelli kingdom, said the State Government was committed to ensuring that the demands of the communities are met.

Saying that his ministry was saddled with the responsibility of resolving conflicts between oil bearing communities, landlords and investors in the oil sector in the State, he enjoined the people to allow the operations of SPDC in their communities go on in the interest of peace.

He promised to arrange a meeting between the State Government, SPDC and the leadership of the various communities that comprise OML30 for peaceful resolution of the contentious issues, adding that peace was a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable development.

Speaking earlier on behalf of the forum, Chairman of the Interim Steering Committee, Chief B. G O Ovririe, stressed the need for the suspension of the alleged ongoing sales of the OML30 assets until due consultation and participation has been made with the host communities through their appointed representatives.

He said: “OML30 communities demand a stake in the purchase as we are tired of being on-lookers in the assets that are in our lands.” He told the company “to come from their high ground and negotiate effectively with the affected communities with regards to expired rents and lease in line with the laws of the country.”

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